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Archive for July, 2009

>…Another full body workout—yippee! Hey, wait a minute…the Ab-X is on here again? Twenty-five!?!? Seriously? Twenty-five reps on the Ab-X? What the hell?

Yes, sadly, week four saw the return of the Ab-X (also known as torture device extraordinaire). This week, Angel gave me another full-body workout:

Warm-Up 10 min

Squat to Overhead Press 12# 15 reps
Curtsy Squats 12# 15 reps

Cable Curls 20# 15 reps
Cable Tricep Pressdowns 40# 15 reps

Incline Chest Press 30# 15 reps
Dorsi Flexor 60# 15 reps

Ab-X 25 reps
Oblique Extensions 15 each side

Do three power sets.

This workout is one of my favorites despite having the Ab-X in there. I love the oblique extensions. I’ve often found myself not concentrating on my counting, and gone way past fifteen. I think my highest was somewhere around thirty. The squat to overhead press is a little tough by the third set, but I know from experience that soon enough it will get easier, and soon I’ll need to increase the weight to feel the effect of the exercise on my muscles.

In my next entry, my final workout with Angel, and the results of my nutrition coaching.

Until next time….

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>…A workout that is very easy.

By the third week of training sessions, Angel and I had started to bond a little (meaning I am less intimidated by her, and she realized I’m serious about this and not looking to waste my money). Therefore, when she said we were doing a lake walk for our workout I was excited to get the chance to talk to her a little.

The gym sits on the edge of a man-made lake (just about the only kind they have out here in Iowa—calm down, I know there are a few real lakes in far Northern Iowa, but here in Des Moines, they are all glorified ponds) that has a trail circling it that measures 1.22 miles. It’s part of a larger trail system that I have yet to explore. For my work out this week, Angel had me do the following:

Lake Walk

Wall Push-Ups 15 reps
Step-Ups 15 reps each side
Power set of two.

Lake Walk opposite direction


That’s it. The most painful part of this workout was the sunburn after the second day because I’m a dork and forgot to put on sunscreen. By the third day I was too burnt to go outside in the sun for any amount of time, so I did one of the other workouts inside.

This workout is great if you’re not feeling too good, or if you just don’t want anything too taxing that day. It’s also nice to just get outside and have a change of pace now and then too. Remember, this is my job, so I look at the same faces, and the same scenery every day just like you folks (only difference is, you’re making money, and I’m spending it).

Moral of this workout: It doesn’t always have to hurt. You don’t have to torture yourself every time you walk into the gym. You have permission to take it easy occasionally. Just don’t make a habit of it, or your results will suffer.

Until next time…

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>…A world of pain, oh, woe is me…

But seriously, my second workout wasn’t that bad…or so I thought.

For my second workout, Angel (yes, I’m aware of the irony that my trainer’s name is Angel, but she tortures me like she’s straight out of the depths of hell) gave me what I thought was a fairly easy workout:

Warm Up 10 min

Step Ups 10# 15 reps each side
Side Squats ½ lane and back (approx 20 each way)
Wall Push-Ups 15 reps

Curtsey Squats 8# 15 reps each side
Free Motion Flys 15# 15 reps
Bent Over Rows 12# 15 reps

Do three power sets.

Seems easy enough right? That’s what I thought too, but boy was I
W-R-O-N-G. I was fine all day, I had lots of energy, and I was feeling great. The next morning…

I could barely move. It hurt to stretch my legs, and it hurt to bend them. It hurt to sit down, and it hurt to stand up. It hurt to walk, and it hurt to stand still.

I have to walk up about 25 steps to get from the main floor of the gym to the area with the cardio equipment, weights, and express fitness machines. I swear to you, after staggering in the front doors that morning (barely holding back the tears); I think the staircase actually grew while I watched from the bottom step. It may have taken me ten minutes to get up those steps, but eventually I made it. I did that workout again, and when I woke up on the third day, I was still in pain. Yeah, what the hell? My legs still freaking hurt! I put special rubbing oil on them the night before, and I massaged them until my hands ached, but they were still sore. Nevertheless, I went again, and again on the fourth day. I was still hurting by the weekend, but I had three days to recover before my next meeting with Satin, I mean Angel.

Eventually, my legs quit hurting, and I was like a dopey puppy when I showed up for my next meeting, all memories of the pain of the last week wiped from my memory by the excitement of a new workout to try. I have gone back to that workout since that week, and have not had the same issues. A few days pain was definitely worth the benefit of smaller thighs, and a higher, firmer butt.

So what should you, my dear devoted readers (all two of you), take from this tale of misery and woe? Simple: no pain, no gain. Feel free to whine to anyone who will listen, even wallow in self-pity if that’s your thing. However, there is one thing you cannot do. You cannot quit. I didn’t quit. I will admit, I thought about burrowing under the covers every morning that week and just staying in bed all day, but what would that have accomplished? My legs would have still hurt, and there is no way I would have been able to fit back into my pre-baby jeans a few weeks later if I didn’t make myself get up and face the dragon. Every. Single. Morning.

Until next time…

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>Back in Business

>Now that the dam has burst, and I have posted after such a long absence, I am excited to update you all on what I have been doing since late April.

I was in Pennsylvania for two weeks dealing with my brother’s accident, passing, and final affairs. During that time, I was not working out at the gym, but I also was not eating much either. I fully expected a gain simply because I was not at the gym, but ended up with a two-pound loss. I needed this emotional boost.

Over the next few weeks, I was stuck in a cycle where I just lost and gained the same five pounds repeatedly. I had been doing the same workout for the past two months and was getting sick of it, but I still did not know how to use most of the equipment in the gym much less what exercises would be of benefit to me. For Mother’s Day, I bought myself an extravagant but practical gift (I knew hubby would not mind being relieved of duty), five personal training sessions, and nutrition counseling.

My first week, was not a good one nutritionally. I had bagels and cream cheese for breakfast, fast food for lunch and pizza for dinner, admittedly not my usual, but still not a good week to have to show to your personal trainer. She gave me 1700 calories a day to eat, 2700 to burn, and a few ideas of what would be better to eat that what I had the week before. Then we moved to the gym for the workout…

My first session really was not that bad. She put together a full body workout for me, and we went through it twice to be sure I knew how to do everything. This is what she had me do:

Warm Up 10 Min.

Leg Press 75# 15 reps
Vertical Chest Press 60# 15 reps

Vert. Shoulder Press 45# 15 reps
Seated Leg Curl 120# 15 reps

Ab-X 15 reps
Russian Twist 10# 15 reps each side

Alt. Bicep Curl 12# 15 reps each side
Alt. Shoulder Press 12# 15 reps each side

These are done in power sets of three, which means do group one three times, then move to group two and do it three times, etc.

Cardio:
20 min as follows:
On treadmill—Speed 3.5 Incline 3% 2 min. 5% 2 min. 6% 1 min. Repeat 4 times.

Now, I feel the need for a small aside about the piece of equipment called the ‘Ab-X’. If the Ab-X were an algebra equation, X could have several values, for example:

X=Pain
X=Burn
X=What the hell is she trying to do to me?
X=Oh my God, I’m going to die!


Just to list a few.

So, until next time…

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>The Speech

>The following is my speech from Calvin’s funeral. A few things to keep in mind, I do not do public speaking because I tend to get nose bleeds then throw up. My Mum told me I could not cry because she could not handle it. I managed to make it through the entire thing without as much as a single tear, drop of blood, or even so much as a gag and I did not once loose consciousness (that I know of).

This past week, I’ve thought a lot about my brother. I’ve remembered wild stunts, crazy stories, long lost friends and enemies, and I’ve finally gotten the back story on so many jokes. But I sadly realized just how little I really knew about my own brother. We had our rough patches growing up. It’s inevitable when you are as close as we were. But as we got older, the petty childhood bickering faded into the past, and we would talk more. Never about anything serious or deep, just about day to day life and our kids. We would talk for hours about nothing at all, but somehow the conversation would always get back to his girls.

Cal loved children, especially his girls. They are his pride and joy. The true loves of his life, and he would do anything for them. The last time I went to see him, he showed me a playhouse he had built for Gabby. It was wonderful! It had real windows, a light inside, and a little covered porch. It was a masterpiece and a perfect example of his talent. He had built it from scraps of this and leftovers of that. Gabby was so proud of the little house that her daddy had built, she couldn’t wait to show it off. That was one thing she definitely got from her daddy, Pride.

Cal was always so proud of his family and friends. He loved everyone, and it was almost impossible not to love him back. Don’t get me wrong. There were times when you really weren’t happy with him, but you always loved him, and you knew that he always loved you too. He was always ready with a good strong hug. A “Love ya, Sis.” Mum says he always gave the best hugs, and it’s true. He could have taught a class on it. They were always just right.

Though we talked now and then on the phone, it was always in the back of my mind, “I should call Cal and see what he’s up to,” but it would get put off. There were errands to run, chores to do. My regret is that I didn’t make the time to call my little brother more often, just to say “Hi”. I let life get in the way.

Last week things changed. Priorities were shifted. Despite the prayers of thousands, God felt it was time for Calvin to come home. Friday morning he slipped peacefully through the gates into the arms of loved ones who had gone before him. They will be catching up on all those wonderful hugs that I’m sure they missed.

I know the full reality of this has not hit me yet. It may not for a while. But I also know that someday I too will pass through those gates, as we all will, and Cal will be there, arms open, ready to give me one of his wonderful hugs.

Calvin William Allen Skinner
August 11, 1980-April 17, 2009

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>Priorities

>It has been several weeks since I’ve posted on either of my blogs. A lot has gone down in that time. Easter weekend, my little brother was in a car accident. He suffered a traumatic brain injury that resulted in his death, but his passing was not in vain. His wish was organ donation, and through his gift, others will have a better life.

I’ve had a hard time dealing with this, and have never wished more to be closer to my family. You see, they live in Pennsylvania, and I’m way out here in Iowa. That’s three states. Nineteen hours by train. Twelve hours by car. Five hours by plane. An eternity if someone is hurt.

I haven’t posted about this for “so many reasons”.
Jeopardy is on.
I’m too busy.
It’s too late at night.
Letterman’s on.
Craig has Eric Idle tonight.
Makaya has her dance recital tonight.
Mum’s in town, have to spend as much time with her as I can.

All the while, I was unwilling to face the main reason.
If I don’t talk about it, it never happened. I can push it to the back of my mind, and pretend it was a dream.

Denial.

Pure as fresh snow.

There have been dreams. Nightmares really.

Doubts. Did we make the right choice? Did we act too soon? Should we have given him more time?

Unanswered questions. Did he know what was going on? Did he know we were there? Did he know how much we all love him? Did he suffer at all? Was he scared? Who will care for him? Is there a heaven or hell? Why did it happen to him? Was there someone else involved? Why now when he was so young? What do we say to his girls? Did he know I love him? Did he know how sorry I am?

There are ok days where I only think of him in passing and the loss doesn’t fully register.

There are not so good days where I cry without realizing it, and have to answer my daughter’s concerned questions with vague assurances that “No, Mama’s not hurt sweetie.”

Then there are the bad days. The days where I have to hold my self together, wrapping my arms around my body. I have to squeeze tightly because I’m afraid I will shatter into a thousand tiny shards if I don’t. The days where I sit in bed and rock myself in an effort to soothe an injury that refuses to heal. The days where my heart quite literally aches, each beat a painful reminder of the one that is now forever still.

Those are the reasons why I haven’t posted.

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>Priorities

>

It has been several weeks since I’ve posted on either of my blogs. A lot has gone down in that time. Easter weekend, my little brother was in a car accident. He suffered a traumatic brain injury that resulted in his death, but his passing was not in vain. His wish was organ donation, and through his gift, others will have a better life.

I’ve had a hard time dealing with this, and have never wished more to be closer to my family. You see, they live in Pennsylvania, and I’m way out here in Iowa. That’s three states. Nineteen hours by train. Twelve hours by car. Five hours by plane. An eternity if someone is hurt.

I haven’t posted about this for “so many reasons”.
Jeopardy is on.
I’m too busy.
It’s too late at night.
Letterman’s on.
Craig has Eric Idle tonight.
Makaya has her dance recital tonight.
Mum’s in town, have to spend as much time with her as I can.

All the while, I was unwilling to face the main reason.
If I don’t talk about it, it never happened. I can push it to the back of my mind, and pretend it was a dream.

Denial.

Pure as fresh snow.

There have been dreams. Nightmares really.

Doubts. Did we make the right choice? Did we act too soon? Should we have given him more time?

Unanswered questions. Did he know what was going on? Did he know we were there? Did he know how much we all love him? Did he suffer at all? Was he scared? Who will care for him? Is there a heaven or hell? Why did it happen to him? Was there someone else involved? Why now when he was so young? What do we say to his girls? Did he know I love him? Did he know how sorry I am?

There are ok days where I only think of him in passing and the loss doesn’t fully register.

There are not so good days where I cry without realizing it, and have to answer my daughter’s concerned questions with vague assurances that “No, Mama’s not hurt sweetie.”

Then there are the bad days. The days where I have to hold my self together, wrapping my arms around my body. I have to squeeze tightly because I’m afraid I will shatter into a thousand tiny shards if I don’t. The days where I sit in bed and rock myself in an effort to soothe an injury that refuses to heal. The days where my heart quite literally aches, each beat a painful reminder of the one that is now forever still.

Those are the reasons why I haven’t posted.

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